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Alzheimer’s diagnoses expected to rise in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It’s Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, and one local organization has stepped up to reach underserved communities.

The Alzheimer’s Association says diagnoses are expected to rise as the Indiana population ages. It’s a disease that impacts millions of people across the country and, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, around 110,000 people 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s in Indiana. It estimates that around 130,000 people 65 and older will have Alzheimer’s in Indiana by 2025. That’s about an 18% increase.

Laura Forbes, communications director for Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter, said, “As the population ages, we expect the impact of the disease to increase. Of course, age is the No. 1 risk factor, so that is concerning.”

According to the association, while Alzheimer’s doesn’t discriminate, Black Americans are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than older whites. Latinos are 1.5 times as likely, and LGBTQ community members may face more challenges when receiving care because of social stigma.

Vivien Carter, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter, said, “These communities are also less likely to get these early diagnosis to be recruited in research trials and to get the care and support that they need as well and so that’s challenging because when these communities are not able to get the services that they need it really creates a disparate impact.”

Carter said, “You can call us at anytime of day making sure that these communities that are overburdened, underrepresented, and underserved feel comfortable with reaching out.”

The group has launched a four-year initiative on underserved communities. It includes Carter’s new position, an awareness campaign, and the maintaining and strengthening partnerships and programs.

Forbes said, “One of the most important things in this new era of treatment is that folks know the signs and symptoms of the disease and know the importance of being diagnosed early.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one of the things you can do reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s is exercising.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted approval to two types of medications concerning Alzheimer’s disease: drugs that alter the progression of the condition in people, and drugs that offer temporary relief by alleviating certain symptoms.